Today's New York Timestakes up something I've been pointing out for a while, the fact that many of the newly elected Tea Partiers have no experience in elected office:
But his perseverance intersected with incumbent disenchantment and now Mr. Schilling, who owns a pizza restaurant, is among roughly 35 incoming members of the House — and four new senators — who have never been elected to anything. "I'm a story that never should have happened," said Mr. Schilling, 46, soon to represent a giant squiggle of west Illinois.
In a post titled "Proof That Obamacare Sunk the Democrats—Even Though It Saved Their Souls", William Galston attempts to show that health-care reform -- which he acknowledges was "morally correct" -- is what was behind the party's big loss. This isn't too surprising coming from Galston, a centrist to whom the media often turn for a reliable quote explaining how Democrats are being incredibly foolish by pursuing progressive policies. But his argument here is singularly unpersuasive:
What I mean by that headline is this: In Econ 101, you're taught that firms endeavor to maximize profits, coolly examining various options and always choosing what is best for the bottom line. But the truth is that companies, just like other organizations, are made up of people. And people often misunderstand things, ignore things, and act against their own interests when their personal beliefs and prejudices get in the way.
During the campaign, I predicted that the Tea Party would begin to fade away in 2011, as it got successfully co-opted by congressional Republicans, then divided by the 2012 Republican presidential primary (with its members split among the contenders). But now I'm starting to wonder. Any political movement is invigorated by its conflicts, and there will be some opportunities for the Tea Party to keep its anger train running. In fact, the best opportunity may be the 2012 Senate races.
Republican apostate David Frum makes an interesting argument: By committing not to compromise with Democrats, Republicans have assured that all they'll be engaged in is theater, particularly when it comes to health-care reform. As an opponent of the Affordable Care Act, Frum thinks it stinks:
They'll schedule a vote to repeal the "cuts" in Medicare under health care reform. (Not really cuts -- restrictions on future growth.)
They'll refuse to appropriate funds to implement aspects of health care reform.
They'll call hearings to publicize problems with the law and complaints from those negatively affected.